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The Makers Technology and Innovation Hub
Makers’ Workshop is becoming an exciting technology and innovation hub that builds on our region’s history of making and features its strengths in ‘modern making’.
The University is introducing a new range of learning, research and industry projects at the site focused on supporting technology, manufacturing, design, innovation, and food production in the North-West. This will be enabled by bringing together our Tech Solutions Hub, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), a new Business Incubator, and a public demonstration space inside.
The building will be open to the community on a programmed basis and there will be ‘making-focussed’ events and activities on offer, enabling people of all ages to see and experience technology and innovation from the region.
Frequently asked questions
In 2021, Burnie City Council ceased its tourism operations on site – the Visitor Information Centre and Creative Paper Mill. This changed the traditional tourism-based business model of Makers’ Workshop. With little visitation, the retail shop, café, and the Makers’ program, could not be sustained. Burnie City Council continues to own the building, and the University - as the last remaining tenant of Makers’ Workshop - has been careful in considering the future use of the site. We were aware of the need for Makers’ to continue connecting with the community and for future activities to be true to the proud and extensive history of ‘making’ in the North-West. The future Makers is aimed at demonstrating and supporting the technology and innovation that our region is known for – agricultural technology, specialised manufacturing, and entrepreneurship in small business.
The technology and innovation focus of the new Makers’ involves:
- The Tech Solutions Hub which conducts training for local people and industry projects in technology, design and specialised manufacturing
- The Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) which will be undertaking laboratory science and developing agricultural technology on-site addressing regional food production and processing challenges
- A Business Incubator aimed at assisting new and existing local businesses
- A demonstration space showcasing technology from the region and hosting activities and events for the public
Over the period that Makers’ Workshop has been closed, much planning, preparation, and stakeholder and industry discussions have been underway. Burnie City Council approved a change of use application for the site (from tourism to education) in December 2021, along with a Development Application for minor external works in March 2022. Once the detailed floor plans and interior design were finalised with key stakeholders, the project went out to tender in December 2022. Fairbrother has since been awarded the $4 million+ refurbishment project. Work has begun and is expected to be complete in mid-November 2023. Until the next chapter begins, the building will remain temporarily closed. We are repurposing as much of the existing furniture as possible. Any surplus furniture will be made available to the community.
The Makers will reopen to the public on a programmed basis. Businesses and primary producers will be able to access training and participate in technology and design projects, while the demonstration space will allow community members to see and experience displays of technology relevant to our region during a programmed event. We plan to involve schools and community organisations and have a schedule of activities that everyone can participate in. Coffee and food options are available nearby at the publicly-accessible café operated by Unity on the ground floor of the university campus building (open Tuesday - Thursday 8.30am - 2pm).
The $4 million+ refurbishment is being funded entirely by the University. This activity forms part of our continued commitment to make West Park a vibrant community and educational precinct that offers unique and regionally-distinctive learning experiences that can be enjoyed by all.
There will be minimal disruptions as work gets underway. Access in and out of the western car park and nearby student accommodation parking area will continue as usual but care should be taken due to contractor activity nearby. The Fairbrother compound and sign-in point will be established near the western entrance of the Makers building, and safety fencing will be installed around sections of the building perimeter. Working hours will be Monday – Friday between 7am – 4.30pm.
Yes, the Makers building is still owned by Council. The University is leasing the space and pays rates for its presence and operations at West Park.
The refurbishment is happening so we can bring the building’s new functions to life. The new Makers will be fitted out with state-of-the-art labs where TIA will be conducting leading agricultural research, as well as collaborative spaces for the Business Incubator where ideas can be developed and progressed. Modifications also need to be made to host contemporary manufacturing technology and equipment that will come with the Tech Solutions Hub, and new working environments for staff who will be based on site. Minor alterations will be made to the building’s façade and also to the loading dock area to include outdoor storage areas and fencing.
Parking will continue being available west of the Makers building (permit holders only Mon-Fri, 7.30am - 4pm). There will be no impact to the reserved student accommodation spaces. Additional parking for users of The Makers will become available in the main car park for West Park site users which is currently under construction nearby. We are working with Burnie City Council to transform the eastern Makers car park into a landscaped park area that can be enjoyed by the community while creating an attractive connection between The Makers and the city centre. Once complete, parking in that area will not be returning.
Absolutely. New operators and entrepreneurs from the region can participate in development programs and progress their ideas in the Business Incubator. It will feature co-working spaces, business mentoring and training. This will not only help new and existing local businesses develop but will also contribute to future local jobs and economic prosperity. Tech Solutions Hub and TIA staff will continue to engage with business and industry to help solve industry problems and provide people with the skills needed across our region’s workforce. Industry, business and community members can also participate in learning programs and public events. Industry briefings are continuing to be held. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to connect and learn more.
Much consideration has gone into this. It’s been important for any name change to reflect making, the heritage of Makers’ Workshop, and Burnie as the City of Makers. However, the ‘workshop’ element of handmade making has changed. Hence, the new Makers’ Workshop is being called The Makers Technology and Innovation Hub. This retains its well-known name, reflects the ‘modern making’ of the technology and innovation featured in the building, and respects its past of artisan making.
The role that Makers’ Workshop played in the arts and artisan ‘making’ will be progressed a short distance away at Burnie City Council’s new Cultural Centre located in the heart of the CBD.
We host regular community walks at West Park where you can discover the new campus building while learning about plans for the new Makers and other site progress. Everyone is welcome. Follow our Facebook page for upcoming dates.
Artist impressions of the new Makers:
Cradle Coast campus
We’ve opened our brand-new waterfront campus at West Park in Burnie - a place of learning, cultural and recreational activities for many decades. Here, you’ll get to make the most of interactive learning in our immersive teaching rooms, connect with your peers in social spaces, and be part of a vibrant community precinct.
The campus – known as the Field Building – is distinctive to the Cradle Coast. Its shape reflects the headlands that stretch along the rugged Bass Strait coastline, while the green roof speaks to the rich North West landscapes. The Domestic Arts building - the last surviving structure from the original Burnie High School - lives on as an important feature of the campus, honouring the history of the site while celebrating its future.
Enjoy the neighbouring beach and boardwalk between classes, or head downtown to check out the nearby shopping district.
As part of our city move, we’ve been introducing an exciting range of courses that serve the region and allow people from our community to study closer to home.
Features of the new campus
The $52 million campus was co-designed with input from the community, students and staff, and funded through contributions from Local, State and Federal Governments as well as the University. You’ll find:
- Contemporary teaching and learning environments
- State-of-the-art nursing simulation labs
- Gathering spaces, including a central courtyard
- A bike storage, charging and repair facility available for community use
- Publicly accessible library
Our university also has a presence at several other sites across the North West and West Coast.
You’ll find our Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) and Atrium Apartments at Mooreville Road. We also have the Tech Solutions Hub in the heart of South Burnie’s industrial precinct, while our Rural Clinical School (RCS) has two campuses in Burnie and Latrobe. TIA has research facilities at Elliott and Forthside, and we also support community-based study centres in Zeehan and Smithton.
West Park staged works
Contractor activity is continuing across sections of West Park to complete projects which include:
- Expanding the Little Penguin habitat and elevating the existing coastal path so the colony can access its new area
- Transforming the railway corridor into a second pedestrian and bike path
- Building a car park for all site users that includes short-term visitor parking
- Final landscaping across the precinct
- Refurbishing Makers' Workshop into a new technology and innovation hub
Full completion of these remaining works is expected in the second half of 2023, and vehicle and pedestrian access will be impacted in some areas as activity progresses. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Partial closure – railway path
This Monday, 25 September, a section of the railway path will be temporarily closed while TasNetworks removes overhead power lines. A pedestrian detour will be in place alongside the campus building for the duration of this activity which may last up to four hours, subject to the transmission poles also being removed at the same time. Please take care if passing through the area.
September 2023 construction activity update:
We greatly appreciate the continued understanding of our community as an amazing outdoor transformation continues at West Park, with most remaining construction works on track for a 30 October completion. Please see below for further updates.
Main car park:
Now fully complete and includes short-term 2hr parking for community visitors to Unity Café, the campus and the wider precinct, along with University permit parking and allocated spaces for West Park site users.
Partially reopened from the western side of West Park as far as the eastern end of the main car park (near the campus building). The remainder is expected to reopen in early October.
New penguin habitat and other landscaping:
Due to a supply issue, there will be a staged approach to the remaining planting on site, including in the penguin habitat. Seedlings that can be sourced immediately will be planted in October, with the balance to be added in April next year once the hottest months have passed.
Railway line path and community bike hub:
The last remaining gravel section of the railway path (where contractor vehicles are accessing the future penguin habitat work site) will be concreted in October once machinery activity has finished in this zone. We have also reopened the internal area of our bike hub (near the main campus entrance) for the community to use Monday – Friday, 7.30am – 6.30pm. Outside of these times, it will be swipe card access only.
Eastern end community park:
Two new outdoor community zones are continuing to take shape here – a grassed gathering and recreation space, and a compacted gravel section to accommodate outdoor events and programs while serving as a turning circle for emergency vehicles.
The internal refurbishment is on track for an end of November 2023 completion with the transition of the building’s new occupants and functions to commence after this time. Stay tuned for upcoming community events and opportunities planned for this space!
Road works and pedestrian impacts:
Fairbrother has begun improving the road directly in front of the West Park student apartments limiting pedestrian access in this area. The existing road surface is being removed and will be replaced with a concrete aggregate finish. A vehicle turning area will be established next to the south-eastern corner of the campus and kerbing will be introduced for a formalised pedestrian crossing between the accommodation building and campus building. Please take care if passing through the area.
Road closure: Eastern Makers car park
The parking area on the lower, beach side of The Makers building has now closed as work begins to transform it into a landscaped space for the community. A vehicle detour is in place redirecting traffic past the student accommodation and Makers buildings. Alternative car parking for students, staff and community visitors is now available in the main car park which has partially opened along the northern fringe of West Park (drive straight ahead as you enter West Park from the Bass Highway intersection). Once complete, the community park will comprise two zones – a green landscaped space for gathering and recreation, and a compacted gravel section to accommodate outdoor events and programs while serving as a turning circle for emergency vehicles. Upon completion of these works, vehicle access to this area will be restricted to emergency and council vehicles only – car parking is not returning.
Main car park update:
The main car park for all West Park users – located along the northern fringe of the site – is now complete. As part of the University’s Development Approval with Burnie City Council, parking is only available for users of the precinct – all day city commuter parking is not permitted. This is being monitored and penalties apply. Short-term 2 hr parking is available for visiting community members on the western side of the turning circle (turn left as you enter the car park). While some spaces in the new car park have permit and time restrictions in place during business hours, community visitors are welcome to use these after hours. We greatly appreciate everyone’s patience as we have worked to deliver a sustainable car park that achieves the best environmental outcomes for the site and the community.
Coastal path temporary closure:
The coastal path has temporarily closed for safety reasons. This is so the car park works can be progressed, and in preparation for improvements to be made to the coastal path – including elevating sections so Little Penguins can pass below into their new and expanded habitat. All pedestrian and bike access through West Park will temporarily transition to the nearby railway path. A temporary link behind the new band and community facility will connect the railway path with the existing coastal path on the western side of the precinct. When the site is in its final configuration, the railway and coastal paths will connect via a permanent link between the new car park and band and community facility. Pedestrian access to the Little Penguin Observation Centre will continue via the railway path.
While the car park is being completed, alternative parking arrangements are in place. Some existing parking areas at West Park are being temporarily reserved for permit holders between Monday – Friday, 7.30am – 4pm. Outside of these hours, visitors are welcome to utilise the parking spaces unless they are signed otherwise. Parking is reserved for users of The Point in its adjacent car park, and there is dedicated visitor parking for the University’s Field Building opposite the western campus entrance. These temporary arrangements will continue until construction of the main car park has been completed. In line with our development approval, parking at West Park will only be available for users of the precinct’s facilities - city commuter parking is not returning.
Contractor activity at West Park:
- Working days: Monday - Friday (excluding public holidays), with occasional weekend work
- Working hours: 7am - 5.20pm